While it may be common for people to use these terms interchangeably, psychology and psychiatry are not the same. Although both of these professions deal with mental health, the doctors and the methods of treatment they use differ in many ways.
You may be wondering which option is best for you? Let’s take a look at each and what they focus upon.
How are they different?
Psychiatry. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) that graduated from medical school. They can prescribe medication and clinically diagnose mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar, OCD. They are able to run lab tests and review the patient’s medical history to rule out any other possible medical issues that could be causing the symptoms in question. Along with prescribing medication, they also offer treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy and light therapy. Some may offer talk therapy as well, while others will refer you to a psychologist to receive counseling.
Psychology. While a psychologist does hold a doctoral degree (Ph.D.), they did not attend medical school and are not medical doctors, therefore they cannot prescribe medication. They focus on healing through talk therapy(psychotherapy) rather than focusing on medication. This includes counseling and teaching methods to cope with issues the patient is going through, such as addiction, divorce, grief, trauma, and handling life changes. Talk therapy is used to help the patient focus on their feelings and how to deal with them.
Because both doctors work with the healing of mental health, it’s possible that your treatment will involve seeing both doctors for the same issue.
Don’t put your mental health to the side, the proper treatment can improve the quality of your life. Whether it is a short term need or ongoing, we are here for you.